SCORPIONS - Big Sin City Nights

May 18, 2016, 2 years ago

Nick Balazs

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Germany’s greatest export the Scorpions are wrapping their tale around a new venture; a week long residency at the Joint in Las Vegas located inside the Hard Rock Hotel. This seems to be something becoming more common amongst the hard rock giants as Def Leppard, KISS, and Gun N’ Roses have all done these residencies in year’s past.

There is much more at play here than just a rock concert as Hard Rock pulls out all the stops, theming a side bar area with Scorpions signs, including a large, circular one with a flying V guitar with the words “Rock you like a hurricane” circling the sign. The restaurants located inside the hotel were serving Scorpions Specials, like a special “Rock You Like A Hurricane” mixed drink housed inside a 23 oz. glass! The coffee shop had a pairing of a 12” German chocolate cake and coffee dubbed “Crazy World” and the Mexican place were cooking up tacos with different kinds of seafood in them, which I guess you could say those species were a scorpion’s prey.

Saturday, May 14th was the second night of the stay as the Germans are continuing their Return To Forever tour with Queensrÿche again on for support. The Ryche raged on for 40 minutes, only playing one track from their new album, Condition Human, the opener “Guardian”. With video screens staged side by side next to the drums, an animated sequence introduces “Operation: Mindcrime” and then the band conjured up three Empire tracks, including the title cut along with “Best I Can”, and “Jet City Woman”. The Ryche continued on with “Queen Of The Reich” as vocalist Todd La Torre showed off his impressive vocal range perfectly nailing that mighty scream at the beginning of the track. “Take Hold Of The Flame” gave way to closer “Eyes Of A Stranger” and the ever classy singer gave a heartfelt thanks for everyone coming to the show and making this possible and supporting live music.

On to the headliners, the Scorps kept the same set and staging as the first leg of their tour, but there’s a difference behind the kit with Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee taking the reins as current drummer James Kottak is battling alcohol issues. As for Dee, there’s not many people that can say they’ve drummed with Motörhead, King Diamond, and Scorpions!

Appropriate tune opens the proceedings with “Going Out With A Bang”, from Return To Forever, followed by “Make It Real”. Then two hard-hitters in a row come up next with “The Zoo” and instrumental “Coast To Coast”. 

The Scorps then take it back to the good ol’ Uli Jon Roth days with a medley of ‘70s tunes, dusting off “Top Of The Bill”, “Steamrock Fever”, “Speedy’s Coming”, and “Catch Your Train”, accompanied by groovy, tie-dye colored screens in the background.

These guys are getting up there in age, but you can still see the joy in their faces. Guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs couldn’t stop smiling while playing around on their axes and Klaus Meine still has a bright and shining voice. There’s no way he’s going to let out a scream like he used to, but still sings with clarity and with that unmistakable voice.

It’s just nonstop, pedal to the metal stuff and scorchers such as “Dynamite”, “Blackout”, along with “No One Like You” and “Big City Nights” were major crowd pleasers. Mikkey Dee was then allowed to show his drumming prowess with a solo of his own and each Scorpions album flashing onto the video screen. Quite an impressive discography there boys! 

An acoustic section was introduced in the middle of the set piece of “Always Somewhere”, new track “Eye Of The Storm”, and then the whole of “Send Me An Angel”, which then launched into “Wind Of Change”.

Scorpions hit all the right notes and spots with the encores “Still Loving You” and the hit of all hits “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. It was a night to remember in Vegas and the party continues until the end of the week!

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